EL34 vs 6CA7: two power tubes that can cause a lot of confusion when purchasing replacements, because they’re very similar and are, in fact, replacements for one another. They do, however have different internal designs, and they’ve changed slightly over the years.
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One of the most common problems associated with a tube amplifier is replacing a faulty tube. This is largely because there are many different types available, and many have multiple names. In this post, we are going to look at one such confusing example: the ECC82 vs 12AU7 tubes.
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In this article, we are going to take a look at two power tubes that are similar enough to be interchangeable, but which have different internal designs: EL34 vs KT77.
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Changing tubes in an amp can be a particularly challenging experience, especially since there seems to be such an abundance of them. For this article, we’ll concentrate on the question of the ECC83 vs 12Ax7 tubes. The truth is, there is no difference at all between them, and each one is interchangeable with the other.
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Have you been scratching your head about EL84, EL34, and 6L6 Power Amp Tubes? Well, our most frequently asked questions about them are answered here.
Power tube FAQ: What are power tubes?
The first power tube FAQ, of course, is about what they are. Also known as an output tube, a power tube is an electrical component, very similar to a transistor, that is built inside of a vacuum-sealed glass tube. Inside the glass tube are a filament, an anode, and a cathode.
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Have you been scratching your head about 12AX7, 12AT7, and 12AU7 Preamp Tubes? Well, our most frequently asked questions about them are answered here.
Preamp Tube FAQ: What do Preamp Tubes do?
Preamp Tubes amplify the very low signal coming from your guitar. The amplified signal is better prepared to go through the circuitry of your amplifier. This amplified signal then goes to your EQ controls, your Reverb, Auxiliary Outputs, and also into your Output Tubes. All tubes are essentially mini amplifiers within your amplifier.
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Let's take a look at the less glamorous, but certainly important type of amplifier tube - the preamp tube.
The 12AX7, 12AT7, and 12AU7 all belong to the same family of nine contact, twin triode tubes. In many cases, these tubes are interchangeable and can easily be swapped. We will take a look at why you might, or might not want to swap out the different types of tubes.
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When you start to push an amplifier, the characteristics of these tubes become more apparent.
Power tubes can have a dramatic effect on your amplifier’s sound. At low volumes, the difference between one tube and another can be difficult to decipher; it’s almost not worth talking about. Once you start to push a little air, however, your amplifier will show off what it can do and the power tube will display its individual characteristics more.
Keep in mind, that by using pedals, you can make one amp sound pretty much like any other one, so this discussion is focused on how a few of the most popular power tubes differ from each other when using the amp, and not the pedals, to get your sound. Continue reading “Power Tube Differences: EL84, EL34, & 6L6”